Southern Door Boasts Rural Teacher of Year

John Hill, executive director of the National Rural Education Association, announced the selection of Jessica Meacham as the Monsanto Fund National Rural Teacher of the Year.

Meacham teaches at Southern Door Elementary School in Brussels, where she has taught first grade for the past eight years. She has a total of 17 years of experience.

“Teaching is my calling,” Meacham said.

She began by teaching brothers and sisters as a young child. She began her career in Minneapolis and surrounding suburbs. Meacham prefers “living and working in a rural community.”

Colleague Melissa Bousley describes Meacham as a person with “a listening heart – a rapport that does not happen overnight but has grown from personal sensitivity and professional expertise in working with young children and their families.”

Meacham is respected for her use of technology. Her superintendent, Patricia Vickman, said representatives of other districts visited Meacham’s classroom to learn how she incorporated technology within her first grade classroom. She has created a website to provide other educators elementary teaching ideas and resources.

Meacham is active in community affairs. She is a Sunday school teacher and served on a community school referendum committee. Dr. Marilyn Fitzgerald-White shared the following: “Jessica’s willingness to step outside her role as a classroom teacher and become a visible member of our school-focused community-based groups demonstrates her commitment to the broader needs of our school district and community.”

One of her former students, Helen Parks, says it best: “She helped me to learn how to be a better student in and out of school. She was and is the best teacher I have ever had.”

Meacham will receive the award at the 106th National Rural Education Convention and Research Seminar on Oct. 17 in San Antonio, Texas. She will receive a $2,000 award and Southern Door Elementary School will receive $1,000. All finalists for the award will be recognized at the banquet.